SEGA Chief Operating Officer Shuji Utsumi spoke with CNBC at the recent Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon. The COO tackled a variety of topics, including the acquisition rumors that followed Microsoft’s interest in the Japanese company. However, Utsumi-san dismissed the notion of a buyout:
Many companies are interested. We feel honored. We have attractive IPs and potential. Companies owned by the owner. A strong owner. I don’t think that kind of transaction is going to happen.
The SEGA executive also teased that following the success enjoyed by Sonic at the box office (the two movies earned around $710 million with their theatrical releases), other IPs like Persona and Yakuza could be ripe for adaptation.
As I said, we are trying to be in a lot of different categories, different areas like Roblox and movies. All these IPs can be somewhere else other than games soon.
Indeed, after Sonic, Persona and Yakuza are undoubtedly the biggest franchises currently available to SEGA. Subsidiary ATLUS is about to release Persona 5 Tactica, a tactical RPG spin-off that our Francesco De Meo really enjoyed, and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio just launched Like a Dragon: Gaiden Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, an appetizer for the mainline installment Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, described as a ‘monster-class game’ due to debut in two months from now.
In his chat with CNBC, Shuji Utsumi also touched upon the recent layoffs that SEGA enforced upon Creative Assembly after the cancellation of HYENAS. The executive admitted that the European studios have been struggling, partly due to high inflation. However, he expressed confidence that they will recover, having solid development studios and franchises at their disposal.
Following the acquisition of Angry Birds developer Rovio, SEGA isn’t ruling out further acquisitions, either:
As an entity of Sega Sammy, we are acquiring some of the companies. We just made an announcement. We are still looking for opportunities for growth.